A few months ago I started keeping a nutrition journal to track exactly what I was eating each day. I have absolutely loved having this journal. It has been a great way for me to see what I eat each day and the things that I might need more or less of in my diet. Here are a few reasons why I think you should keep a nutrition journal.
- Keeping a nutrition journal is a great way to hold yourself accountable. You can see exactly what you are consuming each day. If, for example, you have been meaning to cut down on sugar but don’t know exactly how to do that or what that means for your diet, a nutrition journal can help! Seeing what you eat each day sets out clearly where you can change around your diet to be healthier. Additionally, writing down everything you eat is a great way to keep you honest. If you don’t want to write down that you ate 4 cookies, maybe next time you will only eat 2 as you planned. Many times I have considered eating something but the thought of affirming that I ate that extra unhealthy snack in my journal has steered me towards a healthier option!
- A nutrition journal is also a great way to show you how different foods affect your body. If you notice that you feel sick you can look back and identify what potentially made you ill. If this happens on a consistent basis, keeping a journal can help you identify what you ate on the days you felt sick and what you skipped on the days you felt fine. On the other hand, if you feel really good on a certain day you can look at what you ate to see what foods help you feel energized, light, and ready to take on the day.
Starting a nutritional journal can be a bit overwhelming. Below are some tips about what types of things you can write in your journal.
- What you ate (including quantities)
- The time you ate
- How you felt physically and mentally before/during/after eating (this is a great way to track emotional eating)
- Anything you want to get more or less of the next day
- Anything else you think is relevant!
The biggest thing to remember when starting a nutritional journal is to not beat yourself up! There are days that you will forget to journal, when you eat worse than the day before, or when you will forget to add a few things to your journal. Don’t worry about it! There have been times when I forget to journal for 3 days at a time! Just do your best, have fun, and you will begin to form habits that help you to eat more mindfully each day.